Communications students are among the hardest working students on a college campus. Not only are they worried about their studies, extracurricular activities and their social life, they are also consumed with internships, organizations such as PRSSA and managing their online presence. A good GPA just is not enough anymore. Getting A’s in a class is not a reliable indicator of capabilities, communication skills or work ethic. A PR Daily article identified 9 things more important to employers than GPA. Some include experience, portfolio work, presentational skills, and application of theory to real situations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 7,000 public relations firms in the United States, not considering the public relations function within corporations, government agencies, health care institutions, associations, nonprofits, and other public and private entities. However, communications is still an over-saturated highly competitive field. With this knowledge, PR students are already ahead of peers in other industries because of the work they accomplish before graduating or entering the workforce. In order to even be considered for jobs or internships, students must have online and physical portfolios highlighting work and skill, be active on social media and have experience in the field. While most students are worrying about tests and papers, the future PR pros of America are making time to participate in Twitter chats and LinkedIn discussions, attend conferences, perfect AP style writing and update their blogs, among other things.
Communications, specifically PR which was named 2nd most stressful job of 2011, is one of the most misunderstood and stress-inducing industries. Deadlines, competition for business and pressures to prove our worth to top-level management are just some of the things professionals encounter day to day. Not only do PR professionals have to do their job and well, they spend a lot of time defending and rationalizing it because of those who associate all public relations with entertainment and sports. Don’t know any other profession that constantly has to explain its purpose and value. Public relations is a strategic management function. It isn’t all fun and games my friends. We just don’t complain about it.